Technology July 3, 2015 Last updated September 18th, 2018 1,696 Reads share

Will Designing in the Browser Replace Photoshop in the Future?

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It’s not clear at this moment where the web designing industry is heading. One group of designers, who are savvy with coding (it’s better to call them developers) prefer designing in the browser whereas another group sticks to photoshop based designing.

The industry is currently at a standstill because coding and photoshop both are in demand. But in the future, the segregation between the two will become more prominent, and compel the future web designers to sharpen their skills either in photoshop or in coding.

Why designing in the browser?

Typically, design works are handled by those who are skilled in Photoshop. The organization might have an on-board visualizer, who’d develop the designing concept and share it with the designer. Nevertheless, coding might be required in some cases. If the site has ActionScript to accommodate flash and animated content, then its design will require coding.

The benefits

The biggest benefit of designing in the browser is the elimination of bottlenecks. If the front-end elements are implemented in terms of coding, then it’d be easier to identify and eliminate design related gridlock. When the designer uses photoshop, his approach is intuitive, but when he uses coding to design, he proceeds with a systematic and meticulous approach.

More so, there are ample number of frameworks that make coding in the browser easy. Bootstrap and Foundation are two such frameworks. They not only make coding incredibly easy, but also let the coder learn from scratch. As a matter of fact, it’s the frameworks that help one to easily identify the bottlenecks.

The drawbacks

Alongside the benefits, designing in the browser also comes with some drawbacks. The process can be slow, especially to those, who are not very familiar with coding. Another drawback is it involves more technicalities, compared to designing in Photoshop. If the designer uses Photoshop to design and a visualizer accompanies him, then it becomes easy to fix visual issues and the work gets done quickly.

Just like designing in the browser, designing in Photoshop also has some advantages and disadvantages.

Photoshop advantages

Photoshop helps create graphics applications. Such applications are useful for early planning and research of a project. Photoshop resembles the most primitive form of designing, using paper and a sketch pen.

During the whole design life-cycle, some stages appear that are less difficult to accomplish. Designing in a browser is not suitable for such stages. Photoshop, on the other hand, is recommended because it can smoothly develop wireframes, which make room for the communication of basic metadata.

Limitations of Photoshop

Responsive web design is the newest of design trends and Photoshop doesn’t bode well with it. With the help of Responsive design, the resolution and many other features of a website is preserved across devices. But unlike Photoshop, responsive design doesn’t rely on fidelity mock-ups. It depends on CSS media query.

A mock-up can be presented to a client only after it is fully ready. Next, the designer takes feedback from the clients and make changes on it. This process consumes time. Coding, on the other hand, allows designers to make changes real time. Using cloud-based platforms, they can interact with the clients in no time, take his feedback and write different lines of codes to bring modifications.

Sketch vs coding

The truth is, there’s no conflict between sketching and coding. Even if someone designs something in the browser, it’d still be viable for him to sketch first. He can sketch with a pencil and paper and draft the design idea.

Once the sketches are done, the designer needs to build a prototype of the site from them using HTML and CSS. Build prototypes contain gray color boxes with placeholder texts and images. The boxes contain content in the initial stages of the design. Clients can see the prototypes and how they work; if they dislike a prototype, then they suggest changes. Since the changes are made as the work commences, no work stays pending for the launch day.

Hence, sketching doesn’t rule out coding, rather supplements it. To develop best quality build prototypes, initial sketches are essential.

Can Photoshop be replaced?

A section of designers have already started to affirm that Photoshop has no future and designing in the browser can replace it any day.

They are often being countered by others, who hold that Photoshop takes care of the aesthetic aspects of a design. So its relevance will always continue to exist. Both these conflicting views are true to some extent. Designing in Photoshop results in a number of shortcomings, which could be fixed if designing is done in the browser.

Photoshop issues and coding fixes

The common Photoshop problems can be fixed. But not all problems are easily fixable. Some problems require more effective solutions. Some of those problems and their solutions through designing in the browser are below;

  • Photoshop mockups are static and non-clickable. The effects and more importantly the interactions are left to the imagination of the viewers. Designing in the browser can overcome this problem by building interactive prototypes. The clients can click on them, browse through the prototype pages, experience interactions and even deliver feedback.
  • The mock-up might look impressive, but its recreation in the digital format requires HTML and CSS. But when designing in the browser, this problem doesn’t arise because coding is being carried out from the beginning with the help of HTML and CSS.
  • When designing is done in Photoshop, there’ll be a noticeable difference between the ultimate mock-up and the way, it is displayed in the browser. if a client doesn’t want those differences to stay, then the designer would have to rework. When designing in the browser, such issues are unlikely to occur for the work being done in the browser from the beginning.
  • Photoshop is not suitable for a multi-device, multi-width world because you have to take care of the width layout for every other device. But when designing in the browser, these issues don’t even occur.

Why Photoshop will stay

Despite having a number of shortcomings, Photoshop won’t be entirely discarded by the designing industry because the industry spans beyond the web based design. Photoshop can help designers create graphics. Those branches of designing, where aestheticism and visual enhancement matter more than technicalities, will always find Photoshop relevant.

Images: “Concept photo of photo editing software workspace/


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Eric Haskell

Eric Haskell

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